Quantcast NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics Greatest Finals Moments


Great NBA Finals Moments: Celtics vs. Lakers


Boston versus L.A. East Coast versus West Coast. The Big Three versus Kobe. The NBA Finals begins Thursday night with the Boston Celtics facing the Los Angeles Lakers. This is familiar territory for both teams. This will be the 12th meeting between the two teams in the NBA Finals. Boston has come out on top nine of the previous eleven times, including the most recent match-up in 2008. Every NBA team is envious of the history and prestige of these two franchises. Combined, the Celtics and Lakers have appeared in 51 NBA Finals, won 32 NBA championships (17 for Boston, 15 for Minneapolis/L.A.), collected 18 Most Valuable Player Awards and boast a total of 51 Hall of Famers. The rivalry between the two storied franchises runs deep and has produced some of the most memorable moments in NBA history. Before another chapter is added to the most intense rivalry in the NBA, here are a few of the greatest moments of the Celtics/Lakers rivalry.


1969 NBA Finals, Game 7: Nelson’s Miracle Shot -- The Celtics dynasty was nearing an end. Boston had claimed 10 championships in the previous twelve years and was looking to add one more title, but age and injury was beginning to catch up with the champions. Bill Russell was at the end of his incredible career and so many of the players of the past teams were gone. On the other side, the Lakers were looking dominant. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor had been two of the leagues best players during the 1960s, but they could not beat the Celtics having lost six times in the NBA Finals. But with the addition of the most dominating player in the game, Wilt Chamberlain., the Lakers looked almost unbeatable and were heavy favorites over the aging Celtics. In Game 7, the Celtics jumped ahead by eighteen points, but they could not sustain the lead. Late in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had all the momentum. It looked as though the Lakers would finally take the lead and control of the game for good. With the Celtics looking in trouble, a little bit of luck helped the champions. Late in the game, Celtics reserve Don Nelson gathered a loose ball and took a jump shot that hit the back of the rim, bounced straight up, high into the air and came right back down through the net. The miracle shot was the final nail in the Lakers coffin, helping the Celtics to a 108-106 victory. It was the seventh straight win for the Celtics over the Lakers in the finals and Don Nelson’s miracle shot was one more heartbreaking moment to the Lakers franchise at the hands of the rival Celtics.


1984 NBA Finals, Game 4: McHale takes down Rambis -- The rivalry between Boston and L.A. was finally renewed. After the 1969 NBA Finals, the two teams did not meet again for the championship until 1984. Both teams were loaded with talent, led by Larry Bird of the Celtics and Magic Johnson of the Lakers. The intensity of the rivalry had not lost anything over the years and it came to a head in Game 4. While on a fast break, the Lakers were looking to score when forward Kurt Rambis was going up for a lay-up. He caught the pass, took off and ended up in the third row of seats. Celtics forward Kevin McHale close-lined Rambis as he was attempting the lay-up. Benches cleared, players pushed and shoved. It was a classic example of the physical nature of both the playoff series and the rivalry. McHale’s takedown helped push the Celtics to a 129-125 win and tied the series at two games apiece. The Celtics would end up winning the series in seven games for the franchise’s 14th title and extended its domination over the Lakers in the NBA Finals.


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1985 NBA Finals, Game 1: Memorial Day Massacre -- The rivalry was reborn. After more than a dozen years of not meeting in the NBA Finals, the Celtics and Lakers were meeting for the second straight year for the championship. Boston prevailed the year before in a hard fought seven game series, but L.A. was looking for revenge. But in Game 1, Los Angeles looked light years away from being a championship team and being capable of beating the defending champions. Boston beat and embarrassed the Lakers by 34 points in Game 1, 148-114. The game became known as the ‘Memorial Day Massacre’ and was one of the most lopsided and embarrassing losses in the Lakers long and proud history. But like championship teams, the Lakers responded not only by winning game two, but by fighting back and winning the series in six games for the franchise’s 9th NBA championship.


1987 NBA Finals, Game 4: Magic’s Junior Sky Hook -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He scored over 38,000 points in his career and many of those points by his most famous offensive weapon, the skyhook. But in the 1987 NBA Finals, it was a skyhook from one of his teammates that helped L.A. win the championship. In game 4, the Celtics watched as their double digit lead vanished and with just over ten seconds left in the game the Lakers were only down by a single point. That’s when Magic Johnson took the ball, drove across the lane and let go his own version of Kareem’s famous skyhook. The shot just made it over the outstretched hands of Boston’s Big Three (Bird, McHale and Parish) and went through the net. Magic’s ‘Junior Skyhook’ gave the Lakers a 107-106 victory and a commanding three games to one lead in the series. The Lakers would go on to win the championship in six games.



By: David Hyland
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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